Bette Drakulich: Beautiful mother to us all
Expanded from the 4-11-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune
Barbwire wins second straight Nevada Press Association first-place award
Update 5-16-2010: Former Nevada Chief Justice Al Gunderson dies in Las Vegas at age 80

SUING FOR SCHOOLS: Click here to view the new Barbwire show on your desktop

If Reform Fails: Health Care, Jobs and Unions —new power to the people on the public airwaves

The program premiers were available to every television set in the region because of a high-mileage media hybrid.

The shows appeared on both commercial and community stations. The non-corporate entity produced the events, commercial TV greatly expanded distribution.

Thus began an ongoing series of sane public interest programs which generate both entertaining heat and more than a little light.

Please spread the word and consider contributing to the cause online at ReSurge.TV.

You may also take the public option known as the U.S. Postal Service and send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

Your contribution will help fund the distribution of the Dec. 6 and Feb. 21 programs as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a regional, non-corporate community radio station.

You are present at the creation of what I hope can become a new media model where the programming accurately reflects what's happening on the ground and the media impact is powerful enough to forcefully pass the message upward.


Be well. Raise hell.


Barbwire column on the depredations of Charter Communications and the Reno City Council wins 2009 Nevada Press Association first-place award

Past 12 months
Use the search tool you will find at page right at the above link. It will return the 19 newest TV programs. You may also search by date — M-F for the past year save holidays.

Click here for on-demand re-runs
from the 2009 legislative session

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
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Dear Bette Drakulich passed away in New York last year.

One word describes her: beautiful. She was the wife and mother everyone should have, the strength everyone envies.

She married Steve Drakulich knowing full well he was afflicted with this strange disease very few knew much about.

Bette and Steve on their wedding day

As Nevada will always remember them

About 40 years ago, Steve and Bette took over what was then called the Nevada Central Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. It had all of five bucks in the bank.

They knew how to organize. By the end of the 1970's, the organization run out of Steve's living room was the highest per-capita producer in the country.

I served on that board with a who's who of Democratic and Republican politicians. Nobody could say no to Steve and Bette.

"Going to monthly meetings at Steve's was the most fun a political junky could ever wish for — an hour of charity business followed by heavy politics," I wrote in Steve's Barbwire obituary. The former golden gloves boxer died in 2002.

I spoke with someone in the Nevada governor's office a few days ago. Turned out she was a Drakulich who informed me that dear Bette was afflicted with Alzheimer's disease.

Almost like magic came an e-mail from Peggy Drakulich Leon about the publication of her second novel. I asked about her mom.

"My second book, A Theory of All Things, is now out. It's getting great reviews. This one is not about Nevada, but the character of the father was written almost entirely from my experiences with my mom's Alzheimer's disease.

"She died a year ago January, here in Cooperstown. I still talk to her every day in my heart," Peggy wrote.

UNR basketball junkies regularly saw Steve and Betty on the Lawlor sidelines at every home game.

"Steve made that wheelchair look like a throne and Aunt Bette always seemed honored to do the pushing," says Julie Drakulich Roberts.

"I feel sorry for anyone who didn't know him."

"Mom and Dad were an inseparable unit and always their happiest when together," Peggy remembers.

"I think often about how my mom would sit in that uncomfortable wheelchair at home so that she and dad were next to each other, and how he would reach out and grab her hand and hold it.

"Whenever I see Harry Reid quoted or hear him, I think about how you all worked to get him elected (first to the House, then the Senate) and I know my dad would be so proud of Nevada's Senator!"

Family photos of Steve and Bette will be uploaded with the web edition of this column at

If you'd like to send remembrances, I'll permanently post them and see that the family gets copies.

Bette Drakulich was born August 17, 1925, in Ft. Laramie, Wyo., to Ruth and Lyle Lower. She died on 9 January 2009 in Cooperstown, NY.  She attended Albion Teachers College in Idaho and met Steve Drakulich during her first teaching job in McGill, Nev.  She is survived by her sisters Helen and Treva; her brothers Bud, William and Robert; her children Steve and Peggy; her grandchildren Kevin, Anna, Jackie, Christopher and Kimberly, and a host of Drakulich clansmen whom she loved dearly.

All Nevada loved her.

All Nevada mourns.

I ARE A CONSERVATIVE. U.S. Supreme Court religionauts recently reinforced the twisted dogma of the Robber Baron Era when their late 19th Century predecessors granted personhood to corporations. If so, they should be fully subject to all laws governing people.

Like the death penalty, proper justice I've advocated for more than a decade.

When a company is proven to have intentionally caused the death of a worker through willful negligence, it deserves extermination. Advocates of capital punishment say that execution is a deterrent to crime so let's see if it works on Wall Street.

The time is now right to enact a tough new death penalty law for renegade employers. The recent W. Virginia killer mine explosion underscores the fact that workers are disposable and that wet noodle penalties in U.S. labor law deter no one.

If a company like murderous Massey Energy kills its workers, it gets liquidated. The shareholders get nothing. The injured and the families of the dead receive handsome settlements and the rest of the money goes into the public treasury to fund safety programs.

If the death penalty is a deterrent, then I call upon all them there conservatives to belly up to the bar and introduce legislation to make it happen.

Call me for the tea party.

THE WORD FROM SIR CHARLES. Former Harper's Magazine editor Lewis Lapham, the best political commentator in the country, now publishes Lapham's Quarterly. Each issue covers about 5,000 years' worth of a single subject. This spring, it's arts and letters, followed in summer by sports and games.

Here's a preview of the next edition: "Curling is not a sport. I called my grandmother and told her she could win a gold medal because they have dusting in the Olympics now." — Charles Barkley.

Lapham's website currently carries an awesome new poem by the legendary Lawrence Ferlinghetti who just turned 91. At Sea will be linked to the web edition of this column at

It does not mention Sir Charles.

HELP WANTED . Regular readers know that I have been raising money to help Sierra Nevada Community Access Television fully benefit from a matching foundation grant of $40,000. Contributions are tax-deductible. If you can help, give me a holler at (775) 882-TALK or drop me a line.

HELP WANTED, PART DEUX. The Reno-Sparks NAACP will hold its annual Freedom Fund Banquet on May 22 at the Peppermill in Reno. For ticket and sponsorship information, go to or contact me. This is important.

Be well. Raise hell.


Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, second vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Guns...

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced

The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?


The Dean's List

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

The 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008

...and more ammo

BARBWIRE Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive

Propaganda fuels gasoline price fixing
Barbwire 8-14-2005

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know

Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.

NAOMI WOLF: Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps
There are some things common to every state that's made the transition to fascism. Author Naomi Wolf argues that all of them are present in America today.
Alternet 5-20-2007

Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007. I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune.

Barlett, Donald L. and Steele, James B.; America: What Went Wrong? (1992); America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? (1994); America: Who Stole the Dream? (1996) ; Andrews & McMeel/Universal Press Syndicate.

Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia

The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey
Excerpted from the book available below

ORDER Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press

     SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.

     By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)

     Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.

Conservatives Help Wal-Mart, and Vice Versa
As Wal-Mart struggles to rebut growing criticism, it has discovered a reliable ally: conservative research groups.
New York Times 9-8-2006; Free registration may be required.

      BARBWIRE: Labor Day '94: People vs. corporate con job, 9-4-94
Chilling forecasts from Alex Carey

      BARBWIRE: The Nevada Republican Party Becomes Communist, 3-30-97
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy

The sands of time do not cloud the long memories of the sheiks of Araby
Barbwire 9-10-2006

      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966 | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
| BallotBoxing.US | Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Annual César Chávez Celebration
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Copyright © 1982-2010, 2013 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as second vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.

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